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Rhode Island Student Study-Attendance in High School and College Graduation Rates

student study on graduation

The Providence Plan’s DataSpark conducted a Rhode Island student study that explored the effects of chronic absenteeism on students beyond high school graduation. In the state of Rhode Island approximately 30 % of high school students are habitually absent. A student is considered habitually absent if they missed at least 10 % of the school year. A school year has 180 days, so a student would have to miss at least 18 days of the year to be considered habitually absent. The study of public school students in Rhode Island who graduated in 2009 showed that students with good high school attendance were three times more likely to be on track to earn a college degree in four years.

The researchers followed approximately 13,000 public students from 9th grade until graduation. High school drop outs as well as students who didn’t graduate by the spring of 2009 or moved out of the district were eliminated from the study. They accounted for 3,760 students.

Of the remaining high school graduates 1,843 students had been habitually absent, which accounted for about 20 %. By the fall of 2009, 63 % were not enrolled in college and 10 % were enrolled part time. 408 students accounted for 22% of students who enrolled full time into one of the states three public colleges. Of those 408 student, the study found that only 50 students were still enrolled full time four years later.

The student study didn’t conclude the reasoning behind the poor persistence rates, but did find that the GPA of the students who had good high school attendance records didn’t not differ from the students who were habitually absent. If habitually absent high school students have such low rates of college persistence, it stands to reason that students with good attendance do much better in college. Having good habits at a young age enables students to be more responsible in the future.

See more about the study at the Providence Journal.